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Friday, 20 December 2013

Grexit or Bankruptcy for Greece within the Next 4 Years, FT says

A shocking prediction was made by The Financial Times concerning Greece while evaluating the sustainability plan of the German government resulting from the coalition between Angela Merkel with the Social Democrats. The newspaper wrote that within the next four years, Greece will either return to the drachma or declare bankruptcy, or maybe both scenarios will take place.

“Germany’s coalition will have to break promises” this is the title of the article The Financial Times published. It naturally talks about that the leaders of the ruling coalition would not push through with their promises to the German voters for the reason that there is “a lack of preparation by the political class for what will hit it in the next four years. The big threat to Germany over the next four years is not demography but the unfolding eurozone debt crisis. No matter which crisis resolution scenario prevails, some promises made to the electorate are going to be broken.”

The Financial Times article provided a key paradigm of what will happen in the next four years of the Greek debt crisis and with the emphasis that: The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is forecasting that the Greek sovereign debt ratio will stabilize at 160 per cent of gross domestic product in 2020. The EU and the International Monetary Fund have been basing their whole bailout arithmetic on a goal of 124 per cent. Greece will either default or exit the euro – or both in the next four years. The EU’s “pretend-and-extend” strategy of revolving loans at longer maturities and lower interest rates is approaching a natural limit.”

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Gas under $3 – coming to a station near you

Nowadays it seems that oil price hike is never-ending but surprisingly it is becoming easier and easier to find gas for less than $3 a gallon.

The average price of a gallon of regular gas now stands at $3.19, according to AAA, after falling by about a penny a day for the last week. In the six states naming Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Kansas and Louisiana, the steady decline has taken the average price below $3 already. An additional six states are taking pleasure in an average price within a nickel of that standard and could drop below three dollars before long.

But $3 gas isn’t just limited to these 6 states.

According to the Oil Price Information Service, nearly 20% of gas stations nationwide are already charging less than $3 a gallon for regular gas. And those stations are selling far more than their share of gas.

“In almost half the states, you don’t need to make a great effort to find gas at $3 or less,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for OPIS, which compiles the price data for AAA, as well as for GasBuddy.com.

“To a great extent, the averages are really misleading,” said Kloza. “A large station with cheap prices might sell 750,000 gallons a month, while a small independent station with high prices might be struggling to sell 100,000 gallons.

The increased supply of low-price crude from Canada and North Dakota is a major factor sending gas prices lower, Kloza said.

“We’re seeing the cheapest crude on planet here,” he said.

What kept the gasoline inventories high were the quiet hurricane season and the lack of other disruptions at refineries.

For much of this year, the national average is by that time is below 2012′s low of $3.21, and has been averaging about 25 cents a gallon less than last year’s prices. Kloza estimates that gas prices will carry on to fall through the last part of 2013, and that more than half of states will have an average price below $3 a gallon ahead of Christmas, which is in general when prices bottom out for the year.

While high-price states like California and New York might keep the national average just above $3, Kloza said there is about a fifty-fifty chance that the national average could drop below $3 for the first time since late 2010.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Help victims of Typhoon Haiyan the best way we can

Thousands of people are suffering in the Philippines due to the one of the world’s worst disaster in the modern history. There are some alleged estimates that the number of deaths reached as high as 10,000 but as of the last count 2,000 are feared dead.

The devastating news lead every casual news consumer to contribute to any sort of financial aid. New technology and social media have made sending $1 or $10 to “charitable” organizations easier than ever.

“One of the problems is that we’ve entered into the digital age with a high level of trust,” Angie Barnett, president of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland, said.

Scam artists that meant to get money out of donations often get convincing photographs, or videos from the websites of reputable organizations to appear legitimate.

“Some have similar sounding names to big organizations… that’s a red flag,” Raymund Flandez, a staff writer covering the intersection of technology and charity for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, said.

THURSDAY @ 11 | Undeniable facts about an unregistered charity organization (click)

The “Red Cross of the United States” is not the same as the American Red Cross, for example.

The number of website addresses containing the words “Haiyan,” “typhoon,” “disaster aid,” “Philippines,” and “relief” has soared, Barnett said.

The aid delays for up to 2 million people in remote locations of the Philippines are melting the hearts and wallets across the country.

Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland released a list of the top five mistakes people make when donating to charity after a natural disaster.

• Do not make a donation decision only basing on the charity’s name and send donations to inexperienced relief efforts.

Stand by with one standard rule; don’t go with a charity in which the domain name contains the name of the disaster itself. So don’t give to “HaiyanRelief.com” or “HelpTheVictimsofHaiyan.com.”

“It could be a start-up group with little experience or a questionable effort seeking to gain confidence through its title,” Barnett said. “If in doubt, ask for the organization’s Form 990, a tax return charities file annually with the IRS. This form provides transparency in the dollars raised – and where they are directed.”

• Gather clothing and goods without verifying that items can be used.

Relief organizations often prefer to purchase goods near the location of the disaster to help speed the rate of delivery, according to the Better Business Bureau. Consider the cost of shipping extensive cargo long distances. Cash is king.


Facebook inserted a direct link to send $10 to the American Red Cross to provide aid for Haiyan relief as of November 13.The American Red Cross is among the most trusted organizations globally so it better to donate to them directly.

While this may not apply to Facebook, “Common tactics used by scam artists include phishing email with alleged links to disaster video which if clicked, releases malware into your personal computer,” according to the BBB. “Social media mentions of bogus donation websites which collect money and shut down without a trace.”

Barnett said scammers are in the business of “throwing up websites” and “collecting credit card numbers.”

• Do not donate without doing your homework

To make the vetting process easier, Flandez suggested the following three charity rating websites, which perform regular due diligence:

“More than that, do a Google search to see if they’ve made any strides in what they do. … That’s basic due diligence,” Flandez said

Readers can report possible charity scams here .

Guidestar spokeswoman Lindsay Nichols said, “We all give with our heart, but unless we give with our head too, we’re essentially wasting our hard-earned money.”

Guidestar’s tips for giving with your heart and your head can be found here .

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The end of McDonald’s Dollar Menu as we know it

McDonald’s is changing its legendary Dollar Menu to try and rise out of its sales slump.

McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500) gave a new name to the menu Dollar Menu & More. Some of the items will still cost a dollar, but other items will cost more.

October 24, Wednesday, it sent this tweet from its official account: “Dollar Menu fans, don’t worry…our new Dollar Menu & More will offer many options that are still $1 and some new choices too!”

According to a McDonald’s spokeswoman, who said it will include some new items, which she declined to identify, the new menu will officially roll out on Nov. 4

McDonald’s could use a revenue enhance. Sometime this October, the fast food giant reported disappointing same-store sales, up less than 1% worldwide for the quarter as compared to the previous year.

The company fared for the most part badly outside of the U.S., with same-store sales falling 1.4% in the Middle East, Africa and the Asia/Pacific region. Operating income fell 12% in China, Japan and Australia because of an “ongoing challenging environment.”

In test markets like New York City, a similar menu called the Extra Value Menu & More is already available. A worker at a Manhattan restaurant featuring an Extra Value Menu & More said it’s been on offer since at least February, when he started working there.

At that restaurant, the following items are still available for $1: two slices of apple pie, two bags of apple slices, and a “cone” (presumably with ice cream in it, but the menu didn’t specify.)

Most of the other items cost a dollar and change, with the list as follows, the McDouble and McChicken, which each go for $1.69, and the four-piece McNugget, which costs $1.59.

The prices climb higher from there; the double cheeseburger costs $2.19 and the McFlurry is priced at $2.89. The most expensive item on the Extra Value Menu & More was the 20-piece McNugget for $4.99.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

City must shrink if era of ‘too big to fail’ doesn’t end says Mark Carney

The Governor of the Bank of England has said Britain will have to give up its leading position in financial services unless the UK’s “too big to fail” banks can go bust without putting the taxpayer at risk.

The City would have to shrink if the Government were to come to the rescue of banks in a future crisis, Mark Carney has warned.

“If we don’t end ‘too big to fail’, we can’t support a financial sector of this size,” he said.

Despite the fact that the financial services industry accounts for 10pc of national output, UK banks have assets equivalent to about four times the size of the economy, employing around 1m people.

By 2050, banks assets could be nine times the size of UK GDP if “UK-owned banks’ share of global banking activity remains the same”, Mr Carney said.

“Some would react to this prospect with horror… but, if organised properly, a vibrant financial sector brings substantial benefits. The UK’s financial sector can be both a global good and a national asset – if it is resilient.”

To get there, he called for greater co-operation between national supervisors to prevent “regulatory Balkanisation” caused as countries put their own interests first. Failure to strike an international accord on financial regulation would threaten London’s competitiveness as a global financial centre, he warned.

The Bank had overhauled its liquidity rules to ensure the real economy was never again starved of lending in a financial crisis, the Governor also revealed. He assured that banks and building societies would have low-priced and abundant access to liquidity even if markets seized up, as they did during the 2008 credit crunch.

“Five simple words describe our approach – we are open for business,” he said. The Bank has reformed Britain’s “sterling monetary framework” to prevent banks from hoarding unproductive cash and gilts that could otherwise be released for lending to households and businesses.

“We are changing how we backstop private firms’ liquidity management,” Mr Carney said, after giving a speech in London. “These efforts will help set the stage to improve further the supply of credit within the UK.”

In 2008, a scarcity of liquidity forced banks into emergency asset sales that degenerate the crisis by setting off a downward spiral in prices. Since then, regulators have brought in tough liquidity rules but banks have built up even larger buffers – tying up funds.

The Bank relaxed its regulations in June to release as much as £70bn of liquidity to help boost lending and drive economic growth. The most recent change will guarantee lenders can be confident that they will always be able to access cash and gilts.

To build the fresh arrangements striking to lenders, the Bank has removed the “stigma” of liquidity assistance by cutting the fees and approving to accept lower quality loans as collateral.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Durable-goods orders rise 3.7% in September

Surge in aircraft contracts leads way, but business investment softens

A snapback in contracts for Boeing jets increased U.S. orders for durable goods in September, however business investment softened again and underscored the failure of the U.S. economy to leap onto a faster-growth plane.

Orders for durable goods advanced 3.7% in September, led by a 57.5% increase in aircraft bookings, the Commerce Department said Friday. Compared with just 16 in August, Boeing BA -0.43%signed contracts last month for 127 jetliners, rmirroring a usually irregular pattern of orders in the airline industry.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a seasonally adjusted 3.0% increase in new orders.

In U.S. markets, stocks went up a little as investors paid attention mainly on strong corporate earnings reports.

The other major component of transportation are Autos, these things did not fare as well. In August, bookings for autos and auto parts fell 0.3% after a strong increase.

Revealing the unstable transportation sector, new orders dipped 0.1% in September to mark the third straight turn down, possibly a sign that manufacturers grew watchful in expectation of the government shutdown. Demand went down for heavy machinery declined 1.8%.

“Everything else remained lackluster as it has for months,” said Michael Montgomery, U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight.

In addition, in September, orders for capital goods exclusive of military wares and commercial aircraft slipped 1.1%. That’s the second go down in three months for a category viewed by economists as a proxy for business investment.

The mild pace of business investment is a troubling sign, some economists and industry experts say. Many companies must improve investment just to trade equipment that’s tiring out and the ultralow level of interest rates would propose that they should act now.

“Business equipment spending should be driving U.S. economic growth,” said Daniel Meckstroth, chief economist of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation. “Interest rates are the lowest in more than a half-century and banks are showing a willingness to expand lending to business. What is missing is the confidence that economic growth will accelerate and that there will be profitable business opportunities in this country.”

The government shutdown in October may have compounded the problem and the trouble-plagued rollout of the new health care law commonly known as Obamacare could also be undermining confidence, economists say.

Shipments of core capital goods, edged down 0.2% in September a number used to help determine how fast the economy grows. Shipments cut down in two of the three months of the third quarter.

Durable-goods orders in August, in the meantime, were revised a little to show a 0.2% boost.

Orders for durable goods have risen 3% compared the same period a year earlier In the first nine months of 2013. Core orders are up mild 4.3% in the same span.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

World’s Fastest Standalone Enterprise SSHD: Seagate Intros

Seagate Technology said that it is now shipping the industry’s first enterprise solid state hybrid drive (SSHD), the Seagate Enterprise Turbo SSHD. It incorporates the NAND flash of an SSD with the spinning magnetic platters of a mechanical HDD, building a single storage solution with high-speed data transfers and huge storage capacities. As comparing with the existing 15K RPM drives on the market, the end-users will supposedly see up to triple the random performance compared to.

June this year, the news arrives after Seagate and IBM introduced the IBM G2HS Hybrid and the IBM G2SS Hybrid as storage options for the IBM Series X Servers. The two were 2.5 inch drives that provided 600 GB of storage, 16 GB of eMLC NAND Flash and a 128 MB DRAM data buffer. There are also other features such as 10K RPM platter speeds, a SAS interface, a drive-to-host interface that supports up to 6 Gbps, and a drive media to buffer interface. The average sustained transfer rate was 151 MB/s and the average rotational latency was 2.9 ms.

“Over the past year, Seagate and IBM have been putting an enterprise SSHD prototype through its paces,” the company said. “After months of testing in Seagate and IBM labs, the first enterprise SSHD has been introduced.”

According to Seagate, the new Enterprise Turbo SSHD drive caches at the I/O level, thus addressing performance gaps and bottlenecks often found in tiered system environments. A self-encrypting drive option to maximize security for data-at-rest, and up to 600 GB of storage, the highest enterprise performance drive available today is also being offered.

The Enterprise Turbo SSHD enables lower cost server and storage configurations, making it appealing for OEMs and system builders who demand the highest, scalable performance at an affordable cost, Seagate added. Since it’s extremely efficient and economical, the drive provides a significantly improved dollar to IOPS ratio.

“Typically the most demanding mission critical applications for 15K drives have improved performance by compromising on capacity and cost per GB,” said Rocky Pimentel, Seagate executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer. “With the Enterprise Turbo SSHD, we deliver a no compromise drive that provides high-speed performance while enabling customers to leverage all of Turbo’s capacity.”

Seagate said that a 10K RPM version of an enterprise SSHD boasts IOPS over two times better than a standard 600 GB 10K RPM hard disk drive basing on results presented by the Storage Performance Council. The company added “the end result is much improved and more cost effective performance for servers running mission critical applications such as big data analytics, virtual desktop infrastructure, and database and transaction processing.”

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Labor Day 2013: Things Have Never Looked Worse for Workers—Or Brighter

Last week in downtown Chicago, four lads break-danced on the Federal Plaza to exhibit why this year’s Labor Day provides opportunity for both merriment and dissent.

The dancers — black, Latino, white, all giving a fabulous performance — were fast-food and retail employees on strike on August 29 for $15-an-hour pay demand and the privilege to put up a union without reprisal. They were joined by about 400 other low-salary workers from over 60 businesses assembling for a festivity after a day of expressing their chief demands — with particular added corresponding demands for each workplace — to their companies, which, from McDonald’s to Sears, form a Who’s Who of trademark fast-food and retail firms.

It was the third wave for several workers involved in the protracted strike which started last November in New York, with Chicago conducting protest marches late in 2012 as well, and stretched into July to five other traditional union capitals. On Thursday — immediately after the 50th commemoration of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom — thousands of workers from a total of about 60 cities participated in a national day of demonstration, the biggest so far. Strikes flashed in the South, in such cities as Raleigh, N.C. and Memphis, Tenn., and in minor Northern cities, such as Bloomington and Peoria, Ill. In tiny Ellsworth, Maine, a town-labor crowd showed support for higher pay for fast-food workers although no one went on strike. In a few instances, workers seemed to have assembled after getting wind of the prior actions, calling everyone they knew to ask how they could join in the succeeding strike.

The motive behind this euphoric rush of activity consists of several reasons why it is badly needed — slow job-growth, underemployment, fixed or decreasing wages, weak labor standards, a hindered union progress, growing inequality, a work-related arrangement shifting toward more low-salary service jobs, and prevalent abuse of power by the very wealthy few.

The decrease in the official rate of unemployment hides the level at which American employees face a very bleak future in labor. A big part of the improvement in the unemployment rate merely shows an increase in the number of disheartened or “marginally attached” workers (people seeking jobs who have ceased doing so). The portion of the workforce holding part-time jobs involuntarily has also grown.

Such drop in the demand for labor, besides the waning power of unions and the slashes in salary demanded by both public and private employers (frequently associated with outsourcing or, at public employers, privatizing), keeps down — or further depresses — incomes that had not improved much even from 2000 to 2007, when the recession set in. Between 2007 and 2012, while productivity improved by 7.7 percent, salaries dipped for the lowest 70 percent of the workforce, according to a report released recently by the Economic Policy Institute through its researchers Lawrence Mishel and Heidi Shierholz.

The weakness of the labor movement, particularly in rising, low-income sectors like retail and fast-food, is responsible for much of the decline; but the waning value of the minimum wage holds a big role. According to another recent EPI study, by Sylvia Allegretto and Steven C. Pitts, if the federal government reinstituted the minimum salary to its maximum rate in 1968, the minimum salary would be $9.44 at present in inflation-adjusted dollars, not $7.25. And if it corresponded in real terms the $2.00 minimum salary demanded 50 years ago by the March on Washington, the minimum wage would be $13.39 — close to the striking fast-food workers’ demand and to the minimum in many advanced countries (about $12 per hour in France and $15 per hour in Australia, for cite a few). If the minimum salary had increased as much as labor productivity since 1968, it would be $22 per hour.

Any increase in the federal minimum would principally aid people of color and women, Allegretto and Pitts say. Contrary to stereotypes of low-income employees such as teenagers, a hike would benefit many adult, family-earning workers. In a report for EPI published in March, David Cooper and Dan Essrow estimated that with even the slight $10.10 minimum proposed by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the mean age of low-wage employees whose wage would likely increase is 35. Eighty-eight percent are above 20 years old, and 35.5 percent are 40 years old or more. Moreover, 44 percent of the beneficiaries would be employees with some college schooling, and 28 percent with offspring.

The predicament of low-salary workers is turning into an even more severe problem as the country’s occupational structure, that is, the types of jobs being created or maintained, has altered. According to Daniel Alpert of the Century Foundation, 70 percent of the jobs created in the second quarter of 2013 were low-salary, such as retail and hospitality jobs, about twice the percentage of such jobs in the general workforce. And over 50 percent of all fresh jobs in the first semester of 2013 were part-time.

Incomes have grown for the highest 5 percent, however, chiefly, the wealthiest. The top 1 percent — principally, executives and financial managers — garnered 121 percent of the country’s new income within the first two years of the recovery, according to University of California, Berkeley economist Emanuel Saez. How do they do that? Essentially, they siphon all national income proceeds to themselves while concurrently capturing more from the 99 percent.

Observing more closely shows an even uglier picture. The success of the very rich frequently involves large components of chicanery, deception and misuse of public resources, according to a fresh study, “Bailed Out, Booted, Busted,” the 20th yearly Labor Day publication of the Executive Excess reports from the Institute for Policy Studies. The researchers gathered information from 20 years of their studies, which depended on yearly Wall Street Journal surveys of CEO compensation.

Their ultimate survey involved 500 CEOS — the 25 highest-paid CEOs annually for twenty years. IPS reports that 38 percent of these CEOs had performed very badly as executives of their companies. Of those poor performers, 22 percent of the top salary leaders brought their companies into bankruptcy or bailout; 8 percent were fired (but received golden parachutes worth an average of $38 million); and 8 percent were convicted of fraud.

Then there are plainly the outrageously over-paid, raking in above $1 billion during their term, and other executives who served themselves from the “taxpayer trough,” collecting top salary while their firms gained from major government contracts.

Any shift toward equal opportunity will have to stop the excess at the peak as well as uplift the bottom. But more than achieving essential justice, society would gain more benefits — quicker and more solid growth (and therefore a faster, more healthful recovery); lower crime rates; lesser social tension; a more stable democracy; and better health, longer life and lower medical expenses, to mention only a few. (See Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level.)

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus was not mouthing hollow words, but rather practical wisdom, when she spoke to strikers in Chicago, “These workers are among thousands and thousands of low-income workers around the nation, who have a truly reasonable and simple demand, which is to be given a living wage. …These are the producers; they are the takers. I want to thank these courageous workers who walked out. They are doing it for themselves and they are doing it also for America.”

And it appears the strikers are doing it their way, with people volunteering and reaching out to other employees to pass on the word. Most activities involve raps composed by strikers about their work, and protest methods color their choices. For example, in Chicago, the protesters this time aimed to take action at every store where somebody walked out, not merely a couple of chosen special targets, as in the July strike. And they wanted to hold a celebration at the final moment. If the fast-food struggle succeeds, it will be a product of that radical attitude.

The spirit was present in the break-dance — introduced in Spanish and English, as all the events were presented before the crowd of balance-mixed ethnicities, performed under a streamer declaring, “Fight for 15, Valemos Mas.” Dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” a couple of mock-suited “CEO” dancers faced off with two other workers from Potbelly’s.
The workers triumphed, of course! No, it was not Pete Seeger and the Almanac Singers performing “Roll the Union On” this time. But Pete would have certainly approved.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

China joins world anti-tax fraud endeavour

Zhang Yuwei in New York (China Daily)-China is set to sign the tax-assistance convention with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Tuesday and will become the last in the Group of 20 economies to enter the major global convention on tax.

On Tuesday, China’s tax head Wang Jun will sign the convention in Paris, which will be in force after three full calendar-months from its ratification. The convention — entitled Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters – stipulates a structure for administrative collaboration between over 50 developing and developed nations in determining and collecting taxes, with emphasis on controlling tax evasion and avoidance.

China’s inclusion in the group ratifying the convention signifies the world’s second-largest economy participating “in international efforts to fight tax avoidance and evasion by coordinating with other countries in the assessment and collection of taxes”, according to OECD.

Upon the convention’s full enforcement with respect to China, the country’s tax officials will be allowed to request their counterparts from the participating nations for use of their tax records and vice versa.

Steven Zhang, managing director at Fund Tax Services LLC in New York, said China’s entrance to the group is “in keeping with a worldwide pattern”.

“China’s concurrence with the objectives of the convention would enhance the efficiency of Chinese tax officials in quelling potential tax avoidance and evasion by foreigners and foreign enterprises,” said Zhang.

Tax evasion was also a main concern set by world leaders, together with the leaders from the G20 economies, to tackle the causes of the 2008 financial catastrophe and to help eradicate corruption – one of the primary issues China’s new government has resolved to tackle with determination.

Tax evasion and avoidance will be one of the chief matters under consideration at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg on Sept 5-6.

Governments all over the world are implementing laws and policies to enforce taxpayers to show greater transparency in their tax reporting and are increasing coordination in fighting tax avoidance over various jurisdictions,” said Zhang.

“Escalating pressure from nations and enforcers has put administration of international tax risk at the frontline of company and financial decisions,” he added.

Global Financial Integrity, a non-profit advocacy and research group based in Washington, said the Chinese economy bled $3.79 trillion in illegal investment outflows from 2000 through 2011. Out of about $2.83 trillion that drained unlawfully out of China from 2005 to 2011, they said, $595.8 billion ended up as bank deposits or financial assets – such as bonds, stocks, derivatives, and mutual funds -in tax shelters.

Statistics provided by China’s State Administration of Taxation last month revealed that anti-tax evasion moves by the Chinese government produced an additional income of about $5.7 billion last year, almost 30 times the figure of 2008.
The convention was developed jointly by the OECD and the Council of Europe in 1988. In 2009, the accord was rationalized to make it conform with international requirements on the transfer of information for tax purposes, and to allow nations that were not part of the OECD or the Council of Europe to join in.

Over 50 nations have either entered as signatories or have expressed their desire to do so since the revision of the convention.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Stop Collection Agencies from Calling

We are all annoyed by calls from debt collector although that is their job but they could break the law if they cross their line into harassment. You can stop them before they could break the law and besides they wouldn’t do that either because in fact they are so scared of lawsuits. They are so frightened to be shut down that they run in another direction when they hear or see certain phrases from consumers. There are ways to stop them from calling and it can be handled in few easy steps. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act will be violated if they will call again despite all the steps were completed. This law outlines debtors’ rights when it comes to the collection of a debt.

Send a Letter

Explain your preference of communicating with them through writing, sent them a “cease and desist” letter, this is the easiest way to stop collections agencies from calling. Make sure that your letter is a certified mail so that you have proof that they have received your latter or else they could deny about receiving your letter and still call you. They will send you back a letter once they receive a cease and desist letter. This letter to the debtor outlines further actions that may be taken. This gives the debtor a choice of which one to take. In the instance that they didn’t stop calling you, you may start to log the times they call with dates and times, Hendren Global Group suggests.

File a Report

File a report to FTC if the collection agencies did not stop even though they have received your cease and desist letter, complete this with supporting details like the call logs and other documents essential to prove that they are still calling. Your next action must be letting the collection agency know that a report has been filed to FTC and if they won’t stop calling further actions will be taken. If in case this didn’t stop them from calling, you can sue them for up to $1,000. You can do this only if it can be proven that their calls resulted in lost wages or medical expenses.


If there is no other option and no other means to get out then your last resort to stop collections agencies from calling is to file bankruptcy except that this isn’t recommended. Agencies should stop calling since they are obliged to because once bankruptcy is filed they have no legal claim on the debt anymore. But careful, the consequence is it will be on your credit report for at least 7 years, and it will have any blow on your credit. Although that will definitely stop them from annoying you and your life will get back to normal.

Bottom Line

Collection agencies do everything when it comes to collecting debts. What you can and should be is be aware of your legal rights, the more knowledge a debtor has, the less agencies can harass them.

hendren global group news blog,  Hendren Global Group: Top Facts

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Can you prevent credit card scam when you go out on a dinner date?

According to the recent research, young people prefer using cards over cash, especially in posh restaurants or shopping malls. Are you planning to go out on a dinner date but afraid that your credit card might get scammed? The question now is, how can we prevent it from happening?

Many people have suffered from job loss and wage deduction following the recent economic meltdown. As a result, to make money in this tough economic situation some people are enter fraudulent activities. Lately, these fraudsters are taking advantage of the situation to misuse the consumers’ credit card. A great number of people in America are filing complaints on fraudulent credit card transactions. Hence, to shun enrolling in a credit card settlement program, you can notify the credit card company concerning the fraudulent activities. You may be paying for the bills even though you are not responsible for the transaction if your card is misused without you knowing it.

Here are a few effective tips to prevent credit card scam:

Beware of restaurant fraud:

More consumers use their credit cards when shopping or paying restaurant bills. The scam may go like this, the restaurant employee may swipe the card and your card information can be recorded in the electronic device. If that is so, the fraudsters can use the information stored in the electronic device, and then the card information can be use in an off way. Any bad guy in the restaurant can take note your card’s number, expiration date plus the security code. The critical information can be used for online purchases and transactions made over the phone. What you must do is to be wary while handing over your credit card to the restaurant staff or to any stuff.

Tips to prevent credit card scam in a restaurant:

Demand to the wait staff to swipe the card in the electronic device prior to yours when you use your card to pay bill at a restaurant. You can prevent credit card fraud if you keep an eye on the transaction procedure. Right after you get the receipt, certify that you verify the total on the credit card receipt. Don’t just hand over the card to the restaurant staff and instead go to the counter and pay the bill yourself.

Avoid throwing the carbon copy receipt in the trash:

The fraudsters has many ways just so they could persist on the scam, they can even go behind the trash so don’t throw carbon copies of the receipts you leave. Receipts contain your credit card information like your name, credit card number and signature on them. Make certain you cut up the carbon copy of the receipt properly before you throw in the bin or better yet keep it as well.

Use cash instead of card:

This is the far better idea in any chance as possible, in any way or any aspect. Avoid fraudulent activity and use cash instead of credit card. If you are not going to use your card there will be no chance that someone else may get your info, it is as simple as that.

In conclusion, the cardholders need to remember the above tips to avoid credit card fraud.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Top US Electric Car City Could Soon Be… (You’re Never Gonna Guess It)

Which do you think is the top electric-car city in the US… LA? New York? San Francisco? Or Portland?

Not one of those cities but the city of about 800,000 people — Indianapolis, the capital city of Indiana, USA. The city is interested in having all of its fleet of cars replaced with electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). Once that happens, it could become the #1 electric-car city in the US.

After the announcement was made, Paul Mitchell, CEO of Energy Systems Network, got the idea of putting into motion a plan to procure 500 US-built electric vehicles — possibly the Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus — and also to build charging stations as support facilities.

Energy Systems Network collaborated with Bollore, an electric car manufacturer for Europe, and with the mayor for the plan. Bollore plans to launch the program next year and has invested $35 million in the program. It will buy the 500 electric vehicles and kiosks required for check-in.

The city plans to set up 1,200 level-2 charging stations (more stations than cars) in 200 sites. Level-2 charging stations can recharge vehicles at 240 volts for a range of 10 to 20 miles range for each hour of charging time. These stations are the second-fastest chargers at present.

“This program is a great boon for downtown workers, residents and visitors to drive around town without owning a car,” Mayor Ballard announced. “This service lets anyone — public or private individual — to pay only for a car when he or she needs and wants it. You do not pay for fuel, insurance, maintenance and parking costs when you do not use the vehicle.”

Pretty awesome – don’t you think so? Indeed it is a great step toward claiming the title as the USA’s Top Electric-Car City.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Gas Boilers for Convenience and Energy Efficiency

Homeowners, homebuilders and lovers of clean and affordable home- or business-use heaters have long preferred gas boilers. Gas boilers supplied by gas hook-ups allow inclusion of additional gas appliances in addition to heat, such as water-heaters, clothes-washers and dryers and cooking appliances. Majority of older homes have gas lines, unlike most newer homes.

Gas has always been connected with clean, affordable energy. The risk of gas leak and fire arising from it can be minimized through regular inspection and maintenance on a yearly basis by a certified technician. Gas boilers and other appliances can be run safely and efficiently with these regular check-ups.

Gas service to homes and businesses usually come along with electrical connections to provide buildings with multiple energy sources. Hook-ups are often supplied by towns to local residents and sometimes by outside private companies. The best way to operate gas boilers is to run the gas into the home and the unit placed near the entry point of the gas supply for optimum efficiency.

Why use gas boilers?

Gas is a common, readily-available and efficient source of fuel to power ordinary appliances. Many types of gas appliances and gas boilers of various price levels are produced by popular manufacturers. Gas is also an economical source of energy and power compared to electricity and fuel oil.

Types of Gas Boilers

Gas boilers come in various sizes, shapes and price ranges. Choose the best one suited to your needs. With so many brands and types in the market, one can check the rating information on new gas boilers being introduced.
Check out units that give sufficient information on energy ratings and any emission they produce. Consider the size of your home when buying a unit that will suit your available space. A specialist would be the right person to guide you properly in your choice.
A new replacement unit for your old one may help you save on energy costs as they are better insulated and more efficient. Heating provided by these new gas-powered appliances is more efficient, less expensive and safer to operate and maintain.

Benefits of Gas Boilers

People who use gas as fuel have the advantage of an affordable and clean energy source for heating. Gas boilers have low operating costs, low pollution effect and economical to run. New models are also safer, more compact and produce less noise and wasteful external heat. They allow owners to accommodate them into small spaces.

The Future of Gas Boilers

Gas boilers are remarkably efficient heating devices which safe to use for residential and commercial purposes. They are also clean and easy to operate. Although non-renewable, gas is an efficient and economical energy source. Supply of gas is steady and with basic conservation methods not difficult to maintain for many years.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Boiler Efficiency Regs could Save 10 Percent of EU Energy Consumption

According to Energy and Environmental Management reports, new European boiler efficiency regulations could lead to savings of up to 10% of annual consumption in Europe.

Standards for energy efficiency will become more stringent through new measures in keeping with the EU’s commitment to reduce emissions and improve energy use in the homes over the coming years.

The changes in minimum specifications for energy efficiency will mean that homeowners could benefit from saving thousands on energy cost by 2020.

The new Eco design Directive will set the technical specifications for designing water heaters and boilers, with new labeling guidelines that will facilitate identification of efficiency of particular brands.

Homes operating boilers using gas or oil account for 17% of the total emissions in the EU. From 2015, the measures will see old-style boilers phased out across the region, with new appliances to be graded from ‘A double+’ to ‘G’, depending on their comparative efficiency ratings.

The European Environmental Bureau estimates that about 15% of the energy efficiency targets set for EU 2020 will arise from the implementation of the Directive on the use of domestic appliances. This is a significant step towards attaining a 20% improvement in EU energy efficiency from 2005.

Environmental activists welcomed the bright outlook that the directive will produce as more efficient consumption will reduce emissions and their onerous impact on the climate.
Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin said the move to lessen domestic energy-waste would aid in attaining targets on CO2 emissions reduction and alleviate the effects of climate change.

The measures could greatly decrease levels of energy consumption in tens of millions of homes in Europe. Applying this approach in other regions, or implementing similar methods to enhance related measures to increase efficiency, could have a significant and enduring impact on the environment.
However, certain groups have voiced out their apprehensions about the higher prices of appliances and the stringent policy guidelines that may see other types of energy-efficient water-heaters priced out of the market.
Dana Popp of the Association of the European Heating Industry said that the changes could lead some families to convert to electric water-heaters – a turn that could actually increase emissions within a short duration.

New boilers are seen to sell at around 60% more than the present market prices due to the regulation; however, efficiency will rise from 50% to 81% across two standard models. This means homeowners can recover the additional purchase expense from their reduced annual energy costs.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Boston Marathon bombing suspects possibly acted alone


Tuesday, latest details emerged from U.S. officials and family members concerning how the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects may have been persuaded by an agitator, anti-American strain of Islam. They had been radicalized by sources on the web, not through direct contact with terror groups said A U.S. senator.
Younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19-year-old university student’s condition was improved to fair from serious as investigators continued building their case against him. After being charged Monday, he possibly will face the death penalty with working in partner with his brother in setting off the shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs that killed three people. Older brother previously reported dead.Over 260 people were injured by the bomb blasts last week while about 50 were still hospitalized.
There is “no question” that older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev was “the dominant force” behind the attacks, and that the brothers had apparently been radicalized by material on the internet rather than by contact with militant groups overseas Republican Sen. Richard Burr stated after the Senate Intelligence Committee was briefed by federal law enforcement officials in Washington.Brothers, both Russian-born ethnic Chechens, have no links to terror groups based on what the authorities believed in. On the other hand, two U.S. officials said Tuesday that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 — who died last week in a gunbattle — frequently looked at extremist websites, including Inspire magazine, an English-language online publication produced by al-Qaida’s Yemen affiliate. The said magazine has endorsed lone-wolf terror attacks.
Because both officials were not authorized to discuss the investigation they spoke on condition of anonymity.
Tamerlan was steered toward a strict strain of Islam under the influence of a Muslim convert known to the Tsarnaev family only as Misha, according to family members reached in the U.S. and abroad by The Associated Press.According to family members, who said he turned to websites and literature claiming that the CIA was behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, after befriending Misha, Tamerlan gave up boxing, stopped studying music and began opposing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.“Somehow, he just took his brain,” said Tamerlan’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Maryland, who recalled conversations with Tamerlan’s worried father about Misha’s influence.“You could always hear his younger brother and sisters say, `Tamerlan said this,’ and `Tamerlan said that.’ Dzhokhar loved him. He would do whatever Tamerlan would say,” recalled Elmirza Khozhugov, the ex-husband of Tamerlan’s sister. He spoke by telephone from his home in Almaty, Kazakhstan.Khozhugov said, the brothers, who came to the U.S. from Russia a decade ago, were raised in a home that followed Sunni Islam, the religion’s largest sect, but were not regulars at the mosque and rarely discussed religion.
Then Tamerlan met Misha, a heavyset bald man with a reddish beard around 2008 or 2009. Khozhugov is not quite sure where they met but held as true that they attended a Boston-area mosque together.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Sales of New Homes Boost 1.5%


Hendren Global Group: Top facts
Sales of new homes accelerated up to 1.5 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted yearly rate of 417,000, another verification of a sustained housing upturn at the launch of the spring buying season.Sales of new homes exceeded February’s pace of 411,000, though they were below January’s 445,000 — the fastest rate since July 2008, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.The 700,000 pace is considered healthy by most economists but new-home sales are still below the said pace yet the rate has increased 18.5 percent from 352,000 a year agoMajority of the economists spot more boost ahead, as housing is probably to remain a constant driver of economic growth this year.Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets said, “With increasing signs of a softer U.S. economy springing up in the spring, we can take comfort in the resilience of the housing recovery.”More Americans are encouraged to buy new houses due to stable job formation and near-record low mortgage rates. The increase in demand is helping to elevate sales and prices in most markets. Lavish prices are more likely to make homeowners feel richer and spur them in spending more.Another reason why sales lift prices is due to a limited supply of both new and previously occupied homes.
The inventory of new homes for sale amplified 2 percent in March, to 153,000, the second successive gain. Still, that’s the equivalent of a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace and historically lean, according to Jim O’Sullivan, chief United States economist at High Frequency Economics.
The median price of a new home is 3 percent higher than a year ago, it rose to $247,000 in March.The March sales gain came from a 20.6 percent increase in the Northeast and a 19.4 percent rise in the South. Sales fell 20.9 percent in the West, where problems of supply have hampered home buying. Sales were down 12.1 percent in the Midwest.According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of previously occupied homes dipped in March from February. Still, sales were 10.3 percent higher than a year earlier.
The association mentioned low supply as a ground sales fell in March. Nevertheless in a positive sign, the inventory of formerly occupied homes augmented for the second straight month. That proposes more sellers are positive that the revival will carry on and they can sell at a good price. While low inventories have helped drive more construction of new homes.In March, home builders began work on more than one million new houses and apartments at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. This is the first time the number had crossed that threshold in nearly five years. That reflected a surge in volatile apartment building.After reaching the fastest rate in nearly five years, single-family home construction fell in March.Yet, one of several constraints is a low supply of homes for sale, it could limit sales. More than six years ago the housing bubble burst and since then banks have forced tighter credit conditions and mandate larger down payments. As a consequence, it became harder to first-time homebuyers to qualify for the low mortgage rates that made the Federal Reserve’s efforts to ease credit.